I don’t like the term ‘dynasty.’ In India the term can often be associated with destruction. The period of misrule extended up to 2014. In between there were a few good leaders but they could not erase the damage that had been inflicted by the Congress leaders. There was no need for India to make desperate efforts to get membership of the NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) had Jawaharlal Nehru accepted the then US President’s John F Kennedy offer of helping the country detonate a nuclear device much before China did in 1964, according to former Foreign Secretary Maharaja Krishna Rasgotra.

The Ex-Foreign Secretary also said that had Nehru accepted the offer, not only would have India tested the nuclear device first in Asia, but it would have also deterred china from launching its war of 1962 and even imparted a note of caution to Pakistani general Ayub Khan’s plans for war in 1965. Rasgotra had spoken about Nehru’s blunder at the release of his book “A Life in Diplomacy” at ORF.

“Kennedy, who was an admirer of India’s Democratic System, felt that democratic India, not communist China, should be the first Asian nation to conduct a nuclear test,” he said. An ORF (Observer Research Foundation) release stated that John F Kennedy had written a letter to Nehru, which was accompanied by a technical note from the chairman of the US Atomic Energy Commission, setting out the assistance his organisation would provide to Indian atomic scientists to detonate an American device from atop a tower in Rajasthan.

In the letter, Kennedy had said he and the American establishment were aware of Nehru’s views against nuclear tests and weapons, but emphasised the political and security threat China’s test would spell for India’s security. The American leader had reportedly stressed on the fact that “nothing is more important than national security”.

There are no ifs & buts in history, but this was another instance where Nehru let down the nation. Any other credible leader would have taken responsibility after the 1962 China war defeat, but Nehru continued for 2 more years. Had he accepted Kennedy’s offer India would have been ahead of China, but Nehru always had his ‘own’ reasons.


Tony Joseph

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